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Thread: Move from 15" to Dewalt 13" planer?

  1. #1
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    Move from 15" to Dewalt 13" planer?

    Several years ago I was looking for a planer with a helical head for my hobby woodshop. I ended up with a 15" Grizzly because I found a good deal on a used one. It's a nice planer, but it's taking up a lot of space in my small garage for the amount that I use it. I've been thinking of replacing it with a Dewalt 735 with a Shelix head. Is this a crazy idea, or a reasonable way to save space in a small shop? I wouldn't really miss the extra 2" in width, and think the Dewalt might work better on thinner boards, or when I want to take a light cut that would leave marks from the infeed roller with the Grizzly.

  2. #2
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    The Dewalt 13" planer (DW735) is marvelous machine, but it is not easy to move around. It weighs nearly 100 lbs, so most people have to put it on a stand and leave it there. With the feed tables (which you absolutely want), it's going to take a minimum of 24" wide by 36" long, on a stand. So, first thing, is to determine whether that actually saves you enough space to be worth the switch.

    I have seen at least one person who put theirs under a bench on a platform on heavy duty drawer slides, and just pull it out for occasional use. Has to be a heavy or built-in bench though - again, close to 100lbs cantilevered out there on the slides.

    I would also point out that the DW735 is a finish planer, not a wood hogging device. With the shelix head, you won't be able to take more than 1/16" per pass (and with the fat shelix head, probably 1/32 is max). Probably not an issue for people not doing production thicknessing, but you will spend more time feeding boards through than someone with a heavy duty helical "hog" of a planer.

  3. #3
    Sounds like a solid plan to me. Other than, if you don't use the Grizzly that often, after you sell it (which I presume you will), how much out of pocket are you paying for the DeWalt? And is that amount of money worth it to you for something you don't use that often when you could just get a decent Stanley type bench plane for the few times you need that smoother surface or lighter cuts?

  4. #4
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    Agree that the footprint of a DW735 probably isn't that much different than many 15" planers. And it is heavy enough that lifting it with any frequency isn't an attractive idea. Some people also put them on flip-top stands, which does improve space utilization. I have mine on a low rolling cart, so the top of the planer fits under a workbench which saves space. Then I roll it out when needed. While that works, I suspect I can do the same with some of the 15" planers as well. The DeWalt works well enough for me, and I generally feel like I'm in a spot where the incremental gains of a 15" aren't worth buying something new. But I'm always on the lookout for a deal on a used 15". If I found one, I'd trade up.

    I guess my opinion would be that I think you'll be giving up more than you gain by going to the DeWalt. If you're looking at trying to take lighter passes and working with thinner stock, it may make sense to consider trading in the planer for a drum sander.

  5. #5
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    Iíve had the Dewalt for almost 4 years. Got a pre-Xmas deal on it from Home Depot with the Dewalt mobile stand, extension tables and extra set of blades. It leaves a beautiful finish that requires only a few passes with a smoothing or scraper plane to get it ready for finish application. I use it a lot and have never felt the need to install a Shelix head. In my opinion itís a waste of money. Approximately 22Ē x 22Ē with the tables folded in the upright position.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stephen Rosenthal View Post
    I’ve had the Dewalt for almost 4 years. Got a pre-Xmas deal on it from Home Depot with the Dewalt mobile stand, extension tables and extra set of blades. It leaves a beautiful finish that requires only a few passes with a smoothing or scraper plane to get it ready for finish application. I use it a lot and have never felt the need to install a Shelix head. In my opinion it’s a waste of money. Approximately 22” x 22” with the tables folded in the upright position.
    I agree with Stephen. I have a 735 (since 2006) and have thought about putting a spiral head in it. Many say that it runs quieter which is nice, but I've also read that it can burn up a motor because the motor gets no rest with there always being teeth in the wood. It surprises me that as popular as the 735 is, that Dewalt hasn't made a version of the 735 with a spiral head and enough motor to drive it. The planer does an excellent job as is so I decided it wasn't worth it. Having said that tbough, if I get to a point of buying a new planer, it will certainly have a spiral head.
    Brian

    "Any intelligent fool can make things bigger or more complicated...it takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction." - E.F. Schumacher

  7. #7
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    Hey Geoff,

    I just sold my 735 after more than a decade of use. Great planer for small bites. And bloody loud. Like I can hear my neighbor's from about a block away. When his garage door is closed. Also agree with others that you probably won't gain much space unless you can stack on an existing tool/cabinet, etc.

    Best,
    Chris
    "You can observe a lot just by watching."
    --Yogi Berra

  8. #8
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    The Dewalt 735 is the best benchtop planer you can buy, but it is screaming loud. It's so loud that you definitely want to were hearing protection if you are using it. There are Shelix/helical heads you can buy for the DeWalt, but I have also seen where the helical head increase the amp draw. Probably the reason DeWalt has not come out with a helical head version.

    If you don't use your planer much, I would think about getting a jointer/planer combo. This would replace your current 15" planer and possible your existing jointer if you have one (unless the cost is too high).

  9. #9
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    I think that the bottom line here is that it's not really going to save you any space because it's so heavy and will have to live on a stand anway. IE, it's not really buying you anything other than maybe the rubber rollers being able to better handle thinner materials. I'll also agree with Aaron that if space is a concern, a jointer/thicknesser combo is often a great solution.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  10. #10
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    I wouldn't hard sell anyone on the helical head conversion for the DeWalt, but I am very happy with having done the conversion. I used to go through blades at a pace that I found unsupportable - knicks all the time, and at least on the woods I was planing, they didn't stay sharp very long. Yes, the shelix does load the machine a bit more than fresh, sharp straight blades, but it is not more than worn blades do. And the carbide inserts last and last. I just rotated mine again after nearly 4 years on the same set. Probably had to rotate one during that time due to a knick. At $100/set for the blades ($50 per sharp), the Shelix long ago paid for itself. And it's quieter. And it handles difficult grain with less chip out than straight blades, due to the shearing cut. I like them. Others' have gotten variable mileage.

  11. #11
    Have you used a portable planer? I did for years although not a Dewalt which is supposedly the Cadillac. After having a big iron planer I would never go back unless I had absolutely no choice.

  12. #12
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    I have owned the Jet 15" planer (straight knife) 4 post planer for years. I believe may be similar to your grizzly

    Now own the Dewalt 735. I slide it off the end of the workbench to a lower shelf to get it out of the way when not in use. It is a 'little' heavy to lift back and forth but not that bad for me.

    BUT - hands down - the 15" out worked the 735 in every way. If you have the space, and a helix, I would not change it. Just my opinion.

    The dewalt has rubber drive rollers - I prefer the metal corrugated. You are correct though that it sometimes leaves marks. Since you have a helix already, no need to sharpen but I prefer being able to sharpen the old style, thicker blades (a fixture to do this makes quick work). The motor on the Grizzly is going to be quieter.

    The Dewalt does have a small blower boost for dust collection built in. And a digital readout is nicely integrated, but that can be done to either.

    I ran a lot of wood through the 15", less through the Dewalt but I do not expect the Dewalt to hold up over time as well - it is a more 'modern/consumer' type design approach. (at some point there is going to be cracked/broken plastic, and rubber blooms and gets slick over time).

    I got the Dewalt to save space when not in use. It does that. If you are relatively young/strong it can be lifted out of the way. So if the priority is to gain floor space the Dewalt is a great product. Just that that the Grizzly 'may' outperform in other ways. So a tradeoff.

    If budget was no object (ha!), you might consider a jointer/planer combo machine to save the space?
    Last edited by Carl Beckett; 09-22-2023 at 8:12 AM.

  13. #13
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    I had a Dewalt 735 for years, then got a Powermatic 100 that I put a helical head in. I kept the 735 for about six months after the changeover but didn't use it and so I sold it. And have never missed it.

    It was so loud. It could not do the amount of work I now do.
    Can you use a 735 somewhere to experience the sonic assault you'll have to live with every day if you get one?

  14. #14
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    Dec 2015
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    Scottsdale, Arizona
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    I too have a small shop (1.5 car garage), and everything is on wheels. I built a rolling cart for my DeWalt 735, and it lives under my table saw, out of the way. It's a little too low for comfortable use (gotta bend over too far to use it), but that's the price I pay for having it out of the way.

    IMG_5039.jpg
    Last edited by Steve Engelschall; 09-22-2023 at 10:37 AM.

  15. #15
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    I find all these references to how loud the Dewalt is absolutely ludicrous. Most bench top and stationary power tools generate a lot of noise. Invest in good hearing protection and youíll barely notice that itís on.

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